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The Day After: Titles still up in air

With four games left in soccer and hoops, each sport is still far from determined

Posted: January 27, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: January 27, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Hart’s Lewis Stallworth (23) attempts a 3-pointer in the fourth quarter against West Ranch at West Ranch High School on Friday. Hart’s Myles Franklin (10) and Ryan Beddeo (1) of West Ranch look on. Hart’s Lewis Stallworth (23) attempts a 3-pointer in the fourth quarter against West Ranch at West Ranch High School on Friday. Hart’s Myles Franklin (10) and Ryan Beddeo (1) of West Ranch look on.
Hart’s Lewis Stallworth (23) attempts a 3-pointer in the fourth quarter against West Ranch at West Ranch High School on Friday. Hart’s Myles Franklin (10) and Ryan Beddeo (1) of West Ranch look on.

If Friday night proved anything, it was that no one has any idea how things are going to turn out in the `Foothill League’s four winter sports.

In boys basketball, the Hart Indians defeated West Ranch to pull into a first place tie with the Wildcats.

Girls hoops is much the same story, only it’s the Canyon Cowboys and Valencia Vikings in a race for the title.

And don’t look to soccer for clarity, either. With Valencia sitting just a half-game up on Canyon and a game up on Hart in girls soccer, and West Ranch holding onto a one-game lead over Valencia.

So with just four games remaining in each sport, the action is just getting revved up.

Here’s a look back at Friday’s result, and the impact they could have on the next two weeks of Foothill League action.


Boys basketball

The night was highlighted by a star-studded battle, with Hart’s dynamic duo of Lewis Stallworth and Myles Franklin going head-to-head with the Wildcats’ Ako Kaluna and Kevin Harris.

It was a tight contest most of the way until the Indians opened things up in the fourth with a 27-11 run to win 84-65.

Over at Valencia, the Vikings’ Angel Cardenas hit a game-tying 3-pointer with just eight seconds remaining in regulation, and a Saugus game-winner was waved off on a charging call to send the game to overtime.

Valencia trailed in the game by as many as nine points before closing down the stretch.

“(Saugus) had the momentum, but I said we’re only down nine, try to get it close by halftime and we’ll be OK,” said Valencia head coach Rocket Collins.

Valencia entered the contest a game ahead of Saugus for third place, and extended that lead to two games with the hard-fought victory.

“(Saugus is) better than people think. They are. They’re very, very good,” Collins said.

In other action, Golden Valley nearly picked up its first Foothill League win of the season, as it led Canyon through three quarters of play before falling 56-43.


Girls basketball

Valencia maintained its one-game lead in the Foothill League.

It wasn’t easy, though. The Vikings defeated Saugus 48-38 and Valencia guard Kalia Summerlin was held to just six points.

But the Vikings turned to others on the court, including Jennifer Anumba, who scored a game-high 17 points and pulled down 10 rebounds.

“It’s business as usual. We’re not talking about being in first or anything like that,” said Valencia head coach Jerry Mike. “I have eight seniors ... They’ve been through it. We’re trying to stay focused and working on little things.”

Canyon, though, which remains one game behind Valencia, wasn’t going to let the Vikings extend their lead.

In a game against an overmatched Golden Valley team, the Cowboys were impressive, winning 78-28.

Kali Vittallo scored 17 points, leading four Canyon players who scored in double digits.

Over at West Ranch, Hart came close to defeating the Wildcats, but fell down the stretch in a 58-48 loss.

Hart closed what was an 18-4 first quarter deficit, trailing by just one with 4:30 to play.

But West Ranch pulled away, led by Whitney Branham’s 16 points — eight of which came in the fourth quarter.

Girls soccer

If possible, things might be less clear in Foothill League girls soccer.

With Valencia taking care of business on Friday, defeating Saugus 4-0, Hart dropped a full game behind the Vikings after tying 1-1 with West Ranch.

Across the valley, Canyon averted disaster, rebounding from a 1-0 second-half deficit to defeat Golden Valley 2-1 to take sole possession of second place.

That means three teams — Valencia, Canyon and Hart — sit within a game of first, with all three still to play each other in the final two weeks.

The Indians, which play a fast paced, attacking style, were no doubt hampered by a rain-soaked field in their draw with West Ranch.

West Ranch pulled ahead in the first half on a free kick from Samy Richards before Hart equalized on a goal by Michaela Rickard just before the half.

Despite earning a point, Hart fell into third place and is now looking up to both Valencia and Canyon. It will get its shot at the Vikings at home on Feb. 5, and Canyon on Feb. 7 to close out the season.

At Golden Valley, the Grizzlies — still looking for their first league win — took a lead early in the second half over the Cowboys.

But goals from juniors Mari Kneisel and Brooke Moore gave Canyon a 2-1 lead and put it in great position to compete for the league title.

“I’m extremely proud of the girls,” said Canyon head coach Derek Rusk. “A lot of teams would fold after dropping one goal and being down in the second half. “They didn’t skip a beat and continued to fight and break through to tie it and eventually win it.”

Canyon back up goalkeeper Sam Carrillo played the second half for the Cowboys, and played well after allowing the one goal.

“She didn’t get down on herself, the rest of the team didn’t get down on her, and they rallied,” Rusk said.

Boys soccer

The race for the Foothill League title is quickly becoming a two-horse contest in boys soccer, with West Ranch leapfrogging Valencia on Friday night.

“(My team) was a little disappointed,” said Valencia head coach Tony Scalercio of the tie with Saugus. “I said I wasn’t disappointed. We’re in a good spot. Saugus is a good team. We created chances but we weren’t able to put one in. But the bottom line is we’re still in the hunt. We’re one game out with four games left and I think we’re in a good position.”

The Wildcats, who had fallen to second after losing to Valencia on Tuesday, defeated Hart 1-0 on a goal from Carlos Porcayo.

Goalkeeper Alex Manzo picked up the shutout, making five saves, on mostly quality chances for Hart.

The win pushed West Ranch into first place after Valencia drew 0-0 with Saugus

At 4-0-2 in league, though, the Vikings still control their own destiny, with a match against the 5-1-0 Wildcats scheduled for Feb. 7 to close out the season.

“We’ve never been in the situation where we’re in first place halfway through the season,” Scalercio said. “We take it one game at a time. We’re not focusing on the end of the season as much as we are on our game against Golden Valley on Tuesday.”

Also on Friday, Golden Valley defeated Canyon, 3-2.

Francisco Perez, Joshua Torres and Sebastian Martinez each scored for the Grizzlies, who improved to 1-3-2 in the Foothill League.

Chad Ybarra scored twice for Canyon, with Jonathan Heacock picking up an assist.


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